Students have been tackling their nonfiction texts head on with a new strategy that allows them to recognize the difference between a topic and a main idea. Students have been scouring their texts to recognize that a heading reveals the "topic" and the paragraphs beneath the heading reveal the "main idea and details". This is important work because it slows down their reading and makes them think about what they are learning. Then, they have to write about it in their own words. Students are starting to discover that reading nonfiction text is different from reading fiction texts, and it is being indicated on their new reading logs. Nonfiction needs to be read in chunks and then a stop and jot is in order to write down what they learned from the "chunk" of information.
Students have started to learn the different terms for the text features shown within nonfiction texts, such as: heading, caption, photograph, illustration, bold-faced type, italics, etc. These text features help to support the topic as well. In addition, students will learn about common text structures found within nonfiction texts this week, such as: description, cause and effect, compare and contrast, chronological, etc. When students understand the structure of the text, it makes it easier to understand the purpose for reading as well as the purpose for note-taking. Students will also learn about hybrid nonfiction texts which are a mix of expository (informational) text and narrative (story) text.
Students have been learning a more "grown-up" way of writing so far in this unit. They are learning how to build an opinion essay. So far, students have learned about a thesis statement and how to support that statement with reasons. In addition, they have learned strategies for how to arrive at an opinion by thinking about people, places, and objects that mean something to them. Then, they list ideas of what they think about that "person", "place", or "object" and create a thesis statement. This week they will solidify their thesis statements and build a framework for their essay called, Boxes and Bullets. In this unit, the structure of the essay is important to master, otherwise the opinion falls apart, so we are concentrating on creating a strong foundation for the essay.
Students will continue the Word Work Choice Boards that they began last week. Students will turn in their choice boards this Thursday once they reach their 100 points!